If you are reading this essay you should consider yourself to be fortunate. Fortunate enough to be sitting in front of a computer and on a chair in comfort, reading this essay and being able understand it, sitting under a roof with air conditioning, having enough money to buy food and having a place to live. You should feel fortunate enough to have the vital needs to live life.
We often find ourselves complaining about not having certain wants, like a better phone, or branded clothes and accessories. We always want to be rich, to have a luxurious life with many cars, and a mansion and other wants that give us “status” in our social lives. We always want more and more of everything and yet nothing satisfies us. To me these things have no value. I believe that having just enough to live a comfortable life is a luxury. Something I realized on my trip to Pakistan.
I was living at my father’s house in Pakistan a couple of years ago, when my family and I decided to go on a trip in the summer. The room I chose to stay in was on the top floor of the house, so that I could have a view of forest that surrounded my area outside the window. It looked beautiful during sun set and I would always stand next to it when I got a chance to. One day, while standing at the window I noticed a shabby little hut under a tree a little far off from my house. I couldn’t see inside of it, but outside was a bed made out of intertwined ropes. These kinds of beds are used by really poor people who live in villages. I noticed a family strolling around it. A family of four: the parents and a young son and daughter. I stood there for quite some time, curiously watching them. I felt as if though I was invading their personal space, but continued to watch. Even though it wasn’t time for dinner, I noticed them preparing for food. As the children spread the cloth on the floor, the mother went inside the house to bring out the food, while the father sat on the floor waiting. The mother came out shortly holding a small bowl in her hands. As she set the bowl on the cloth, I expected her to go back inside to bring out the rest of the food. At least I thought she would, until, after placing the bowl of food, she sat down and joined the family. That was dinner. But it wasn’t the amount of food that struck me, it was that even having barely enough to eat, they all had a good laugh with each other. Hand gestures and body language showing no signs of distress or dissatisfaction. I was moved.
Expensive wants that give a person status are worthless to me. They are satisfactory, but are very temporary and unnecessary. That day I learned that to have just the essential needs to survive is enough to live a good and happy life.